Better Housing Coalition News Blog

T.K.’s Lasting Footprints

Posted on June 4, 2013 by Stacie Birchett

T.K. Retirement Banner Image

For 24 years, BHC President and CEO T.K. Somanath has worked tirelessly to change lives and transform communities across the Richmond region. On June 30, T.K. will retire, leaving a lasting footprint throughout our community.

“T.K. is the epitome of a servant leader, and our community is a better place because of him,” said John McCann, chairman of BHC’s Board of Directors.

“BHC is well-known for collaborating with residents to ensure that community development is focused on their needs,” adds McCann. “T.K. makes sure that BHC stays in communities as long as necessary to ensure that they stabilize, revitalize and create opportunities for residents to succeed.

“This can take years and it costs more than traditional development models,” says McCann. “T.K. has taught us that it’s the right thing to do when working with more vulnerable populations.”

T.K. has led BHC to receive national recognition for several of its communities. One of these is Winchester Greens in Chesterfield County. When BHC began redeveloping this decaying, crime-ridden community in 1997, the average income of residents was $6,000 and only 20 percent of them were working. Chesterfield police were logging 1,200 calls a year to respond to criminal activity.

Today, the average income of the original residents is $25,000, the vast majority are employed, and the police only receive about 10 calls a year. The average income of all residents – not just the original ones — is $35,000. Many young people who have participated in BHC’s after-school and summer programs have gone to college or trade schools. Teens participating in this program have had zero pregnancies, too.  

Fortunately for the Richmond community, T.K. will continue to be an active volunteer with several non-profit organizations. He also will teach at VCU’s Urban and Regional Studies and Planning program, and he plans to travel and spend time with family.

If you would like to send a message to T.K., please leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

If you would like to make a donation in T.K.’s honor and help sustain the many trails he has blazed, click here: Make a donation button image

Upon his retirement, we will present T.K. with the names of donors and the tributes written.

 

6 Comments

  1. Lynbrina Dandridge
    Posted May 23, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    T.k. I hate to see you retire, but it has been an honor to work with you. As CEO of Better Housing Coalition, you have done a great job. I would also like to share this with you. There were times, whether it was during my lunch break or after I got off of work in a hurry to catch the hair store before it closes and some people would notice my Better Housing Coalition shirt and ended up saying positive things about you. I just wanted to take out time just to say thank you for being a great leader of BHC.

  2. Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Happy Retirement T.K.
    You will be missed!
    It has been a pleasure changing lives here at Market Square and through the spirit of your mission I have enjoyed working to transform the feel of this community. Residents are proud to call this home.
    I am proud to have known you.
    Thank you and I wish you all good years to follow as you enjoy your time with family and friends.

  3. Robinette Cole
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on your retirement T.K. As a chapter closes in your life, and a new one starts for you, may your years be filled with all the things you’re looking forward to! You have done a lot for the communities in Richmond and surrounding counties, your service will be greatly missed and also I would like to take the time to say thank you for all the opportunities BHC has given me. Enjoy your retirement!!!!
    Robinette Cole

  4. Charles Famuliner
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I have long admired your unique ability to create positive change in the lives of so very many disadvantaged people over the 25 years I have known you. TK, I wish you the very best in your retirement years. I will miss negotiating with you, sir. Best of luck.
    -Charlie-

  5. Freda Green-Bolling
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    T.K.gratitude and much appreciation for you and your work in the community. Because of your passion for affordable housing, coupled with your compassion for humankind… I can proudly say that I am a BHC Homeowner! To everything there is a season…enjoy this next season to the fullest!

  6. Al Smuzynski
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations, TK, for your tireless efforts for affordable housing over the past 25 years, and building BHC to what it is today. Enjoy your retirement!

    Al

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*